It happened while I was cleaning out what I call my "junk drawer" in the kitchen.
Besides extra batteries, miscellaneous tools, scraps of paper with phone numbers written on them (junk), it’s where I also keep souvenirs. … You know, memorabilia from trips, family remembrances and other things, that although you’re just not sure what to with them, you just HAVE to keep them somewhere.
Included in that drawer is my flattened penny collection. I never take a trip that if there’s a flattened penny machine available, I’m not the first to use it.
I still get a kick out of watching the process that, for just a few quarters, will not only flatten a penny but also engraves an image and labels it ... validation that, because you were there and visited whatever landmark is nearby, you're special.
I’m also partial to those motion pens that advertise in much the same way. Take my Oregon Trail pen, for instance.
The most enticing feature is being able to watch the covered wagon, sealed inside the top of the pen and floating in some kind of fluid, move at a snail’s pace down the trail it’s on. … Tip the pen the other way and the wagon travels in reverse.
Over the years friends, my children, and other acquaintances have added to my pen collection. And as I cleaned and arranged the drawer that day, the faces of those who’d gifted each one came to mind ... along with the circumstances of the gift.
Underneath, and nearly hidden by a sandwich bag full of paper clips, a notepad and aforementioned additions of various kinds, was a dark blue see-thru pen. And when it came to view, it not only stopped the cleaning process, but had me wiping away the tears.
My youngest daughter was about 9 years old when she gave it to me.
On a shopping excursion to town with her best friend and her friend’s mom, she suddenly felt the urge to purchase it.
Now mind you, it’s just a blue pen, no lights like some of my others, floating wagons or anything at all extraordinary.
... That is there's nothing extraordinary until you hear the rest of the story.
The gift came a few days following my return to the work force. I'd been a stay-at-home mom for years and it was my first experience working as a journalist for a little local newspaper. I was thrilled to have the chance to write. But I was also worried about my kids and how they would feel about me being gone from home.
Suddenly the door burst opened and those two happy little girls ran into the house, smiling, and chatting about the fun time they’d had.
On their way down the hall, my youngest suddenly stopped dead in her tracks, turned around and came running back to me.
“This is for you to use on your job, Mom,” she said handing me the little brown sack that contained the pen.
Puzzled by the gift, her friend inquired. “A pen? ... What is it that your mom does?"
If I live to be a thousand years old I’ll never forget the look on my daughter’s face as she stood there, hands on her hips, in one of those “I can’t believe you don’t know this already,” poses.
“She’s a reporter,” Mary said matter-of-factly.
“A reporter?” Her friend asked, still puzzled.
“Yeah! You know. Like Superman and Lois Lane. ... Mom's,” she continued pointing at me with an ear to ear smile … "Lois Lane!"
... Extraordinary validation, if I do say so myself!
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